Pena Nearly Names Child After Woman Who Beat Her
Julianna Pena almost named her first daughter after the only woman to beat her inside the Octagon, as she admitted in a recent interview on The MMA Hour (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“It’s funny enough, I didn’t watch the fight — I still haven’t — but I said if Valentina wins this fight,” Pena said, speaking of Shevchenko’s bout with Amanda Nunes at UFC 215. “I’ll name my baby Valentina. And at the end of the night, I checked. I just love that name. I don’t know why, I just love the name Valentina. I think it’s such a beautiful name. And she lost the fight, so I was like, ‘Nope, her name is not going to be Valentina.’”
The ‘Venezuela Vixen’ apparently ended up not going with Valentina, and instead went with Isabella, her infatuation with the name came long before standing across the Octagon from Shevchenko.
“Before I even knew Valentina entered the division, like before I’d even thought about Valentina, I remember (MMA manager) Danny Rubenstein one time told me that he had known this girl that makes these beautiful Mexican dresses, and that she could like make a custom dress, and I asked him, ‘Well, what’s her name?’ And he said, ‘Valentina.’ And I was like, wow, that’s such a beautiful name,” Pena said.
“So whenever anyone would be like, ‘Well, if you’re going to have a kid, what would name it?,’ I would always say Valentina. So then when they were like, ‘You’re fighting Valentina,’ I’m kinda superstitious, I was like, ‘I don’t think this is a good thing. Like, this is the name that has been coming to me, reoccurring in dreams all the time,’ and stuff like that. So I thought it was really weird.
“So, losing to her was one thing, but then also the other thing, thinking okay, well, I’m pregnant — the girl, I don’t want to stray away from that name. But then I thought, well that’s just going to be kinda weird, because then everyone’s going to be like, ‘Oh, you lost to Valentina, so you named your baby after her?’ And then, of course, that salty voice in my mouth from the loss is probably going to make me madder, at that point. So I was like, she didn’t win the belt, her name’s not going to be Valentina, I’m over it.”
Pena may be returning, at least looking to return to the UFC in 2018.